Why It Can Be Good to Air Your Dirty Laundry

Trust isn’t earned by showing only your Sunday best.

“You see, God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” This was the final explanation Jesus gave to the woman at the well (John 4:1-26). She was already fascinated that a Jewish man would speak to a woman, much less one from Samaria. But He offered her truth.

What I find interesting about this encounter is the fact that Jesus was only able to be completely honest with her after she was completely honest with Him. She desired the living water He offered, so He told her to go get her husband. The woman answered, “I have no husband.” Jesus was pleased with her transparency because if she wasn’t ready to be honest, then she wouldn’t have been ready to receive anything from God.

And this is true of all of us. I’m sure it’s always been our problem, but more than ever it seems difficult for people to be transparent and honest. I believe it’s because there’s a fear of rejection associated with honesty.

But I have found the opposite to be true.

I honestly don’t like airing my dirty laundry, but when I am authentic and share the truth, others see Jesus and the work He has done in my life.

For example, I have always been honest with my children about my past. Although I wish I had a different testimony, my honesty can speak to them when they are in a situation where the enemy would like to make his lies look like the truth.

Jesus is always found in the Light. The enemy, on the other hand, is always found in the darkness (where things are left hidden). So one of the best ways we can help people meet Jesus is through our honesty. The truth we share about where we’ve come from, who we once were, and how we met Jesus, may be the only light others need to guide them out of their darkness.

So don’t be afraid to be honest. Mike Quigley, an Illinois State Representative, once said, “Opening up the Capital dome and giving the public a look at the inner workings of Congress–however messy they may be– certainly won’t be pretty. But trust isn’t earned by showing only your Sunday best. The dirty laundry has to be aired too.” I agree with Mike.

But let’s be clear. [Tweet “Permission to air your dirty laundry isn’t permission to post a lot of drama on social media. “] Jesus was face-to-face with someone He could help. The same is true for us. It’s important to be authentic and transparent in person (whether that be one on one, in a letter, on the phone, etc.).

And let us not forget… Jesus said being honest and authentic (airing our dirty laundry) is one way we worship God–because we’re trusting Him with the outcome. “But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth [honesty]. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way” (John 4:23, NLT).